Blazers-Bulls preview

Has anybody else noticed that Derrick Rose currently leads the league in PPG (33.5) and Joakim Noah is tops in RPG (18.0)?

I’m not going to get too excited. After all, the season is two games old and those numbers are going to come back down to earth. However, how about a little trivia? The last time a Bulls duo led the league in scoring and rebounding was the 1997-98 season, when Michael Jordan (28.7 PPG) and Dennis Rodman (15.0) did it.

Anyway, the Portland Trail Blazers are visiting the United Center tonight. The Blazers are 3-0. However, that record should probably have an asterisk next to it, considering two of those wins came against the Clippers (0-3) and Knicks (1-2). And the Knicks were on their second night of back-to-backs.

Still, 3-0 is 3-0, and it’s worth looking at how Portland has been winning. Offensively, the Blazers are a slow team (28th in Pace Factor) that shoots well (8th in Effective Field Goal Percentage) and executes efficiently (3rd in Offensive Efficiency) without turning the ball over (8th in Turnover Percentage).

And while three games is a small sample, Portland was strong in those areas last season too.

Portland tries to keep the tempo at the speed of paste. This forces their opponents to grind things out in the half court, where the Blazers force their opponents into turnovers (10th in Opponents Turnover Percentage) without fouling (4th in Opponents Free Throws Per Field Goal).

That said, Portland’s defense may be vulnerable in the paint. Yes, they still have Marcus Camby, but the Blazers are still missing Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla. The result: Portland is giving up the third-most shots at the rim (29.5) and their opponents are finishing 64.4 percent of those shots, which is the ninth-best conversion rate so far this season.

Conversely, Blazers opponents are attempting the third-fewest field goal attempts in that dreaded 16-23 foot range (14.5)…and with good reason. Portland’s opponents are hitting only 24.1 percent of those shots, the third-best mark in the league.

My point: The Bulls can’t afford to bail out and start shooting contested two-pointers from long range. They need to attack the basket. Chicago should also attack the boards, because the Blazers are 23rd in Defensive Rebound Percentage. Again, they’re missing two of their biggest big men. Of course, they rank 1st overall in Offensive Rebound Percentage, so the Bulls should focus on protecting their defensive backboards as well.

6 Responses to Blazers-Bulls preview

    BigUpsTo#15 November 1, 2010 at 7:55 pm #

    Hey Matt,
    Over/Under 25% chance one of these trades happen?

    As far as I know from reading on various websites and blogs; “sources” (I think you should make a word of the day for “‘sources’ in the NBA” on basketbawful) have claimed that Iggy has asked for a trade and the Nuggets are interested in Iggy, however, Melo isn’t interested in Philly. So this is where the Bulls come in…

    I am not getting my hopes up in the least bit after the whole James and Bosh to Chi-town was a “done deal” but one can dream. And before people start saying there is no way Philly takes Deng, just remember how the Lakers got Gasol.

    Trade Scenario 1
    Nuggets receives: Iggy, James Johnson… if they want more a 1st or 2nd rd pick via Bulls
    Philly receives: Deng, Taj Gibson
    Bulls receive: Melo

    Trade Scenario 2
    Nuggets: Iggy, Johnson, Taj
    Philly: Deng… if they want more a 1st or 2nd rd pick via Bulls
    Bulls: Melo
    Salary Cap works for both scenarios

  2. steverba November 2, 2010 at 2:01 am #

    Tom Thibedoeau looks like Darth Vader stalking the sidelines. For real

  3. TBF November 2, 2010 at 3:07 am #

    The Bulls can’t give up 3 players and picks to get 1. Who’s gonna start at PF for us after that trade before Boozer comes back? Scalabrine? Asik? Who’s going to back up Melo at SF without Johnson and Deng?

    I’ve never believed in trading an entire team away for one player.

    BoppinBob November 2, 2010 at 3:51 am #

    There is no way the Bulls give up 3 players and a draft pick for Melo. He may score a lot, but he plays “ole” defense. Deng and Gibson are important pieces to this team, and Johnson could be a solid contributor off the bench. My guess is the Bulls go with what they have and possibly make a trade at the deadline in February. The longer Denver holds onto Melo the less they will get for him. He has them over a barrel, as does anyone interested in getting Melo. I think that Deng is better for the Bulls than Melo might be, because of his defense.

    inkybreath November 2, 2010 at 5:06 am #

    Our game is going to be sooo different with Taj coming off the bench and Deng’s game will get much more stable with Boozer on the court…

    Justin November 2, 2010 at 6:24 am #

    Sports radio has been talking about how it’s not good for Derrick to average as many points as he has been. And then he comes out and dishes out 13 assists. We can’t really plan on getting 40 points out of Luol Deng night in and night out though

Designed by Anthony Bain